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State v. Seth

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

June 16, 2017

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
TREQUON T. SETH, Defendant.

          Submitted: June 7, 2017

         Upon Defendant's Motion to Suppress. Denied.

          Sean A. Motoyoshi, Esquire, Department of Justice, Dover, Delaware; attorney for the State of Delaware.

          Ronald G. Poliquin, Esquire of Brown Shiels & Beauregard, LLC, Dover, Delaware; attorney for Defendant.

          ORDER

          Hon. William L. Witham, Jr., Resident Judge

         Before the Court are a Motion to Suppress and the State's Response in opposition. Following a hearing, the parties submitted supplemental legal memoranda. Mr. Seth seeks suppression of all evidence obtained against him following a stop, detention, and subsequent search by Harrington Police.[1] For the reasons that follow, his motion to suppress is DENIED.

         FACTS

         According to testimony at the hearing, Mr. Seth was pulled over on December 27, 2016, while driving south on U.S. Route 13 near Delaware Route 14 in Harrington, Delaware. Sergeant Baker of the Harrington Police Department pulled Mr. Seth over because the tag lights on the car he was driving were not working. When Sergeant Baker approached Mr. Seth's car, he could smell the odor of marijuana from outside the driver's window.

         Sergeant Baker told Mr. Seth that he could smell the odor of marijuana, to which Mr. Seth replied that he had smoked some earlier. The officer asked Mr. Seth if there was anything else in the car and if he could search it. Sergeant Baker initially testified that Mr. Seth consented, but upon review of the motor vehicle recording (MVR) he could not identify or recall an oral or nonverbal expression of consent. Mr. Seth testified that he did not give consent for the search.

         Upon searching the vehicle, Sergeant Baker discovered a backpack in the middle of the back seat which contained a digital scale, a handgun, and ammunition.

         There were no drugs inside of the backpack.

         After completing the search, Sergeant Baker arrested Mr. Seth on the present charge of Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon. Mr. Seth filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during the stop.

         THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         Mr. Seth argues that the stop of his vehicle was unsupported by reasonable and articulable suspicion because his license plate lights were working. He contends that the continued detention of the vehicle was impermissible because there was no reasonable and articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed. In his original motion, he did not address the officer's allegation that the officer smelled marijuana and that Mr. Seth admitted to ...


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